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I seeLondon, I see FRANCE, check out my new fashionable pants!

We were reluctant to leave England’s cool weather. The girls, however, were more than excited to find their true love and beautiful fashions.

In order to get to France, our class boarded a magic submarine, which Mrs. Hamilton assured us was an efficient form of transportation. Personally, I thought the magic school bus ran out of mo-jo because of Mrs. Hamilton’s bad jokes. This trip took a whole two hours! Compared to our other travels, was an excruciating amount of time. Luckily, Ambra was a secret ice cream dealer, and managed to hook me up with my men, Ben and Jerry. By the time we reached France, I was on a sugar rush.

We began our adventure in France with an exciting river cruise. Oh la la! The famous  Notre Dame, a Roman Catholic Church, came up on our left. Napoleon was crowned emperor in this extravagant church. It has a gothic design with beautiful colored stained glass windows, with gargoyles perched on a ledge at the top of the church, looking down at the people passing by. From the sky, the church is shaped like a cross and is located on an island.

Next up on our river adventure, was the Louvre. Known for its amazing collection of master pieces and valuables. Before it was a world-renowned museum, it was a palace. People travel from all over the world to experience, first hand, the essence of art’s history. The famous Mona Lisa is held here, along with a garden full of famous sculptures and hundreds of life changing exhibits.

Coming up to Museo d’Orsay, originally a railway station, is now an art museum. It is a tall building, about five stories high. The building is amazingly symmetrical. This museum is known world-wide for displaying famous impressionist artist’s painting.

Lastly on our river cruise, was the iconic Eiffel Tower. It is the most visited and paid monument in the world. It was built for a world faire. The same man who built and, designed the Eiffel Tower, also built and designed the Statue of Liberty in New York City. It was a gift to the United States from France It is the tallest building in France, it is wide and the bottom and slopes into a point. Made of iron and steel, coded with copper; the iron looks as if it was weaved. There are three stories to the Tower, however the highest you are allowed to view from is the second, a five-star restaurant, only if you are dining there.

Following our trend of feasting with wise, powerful individuals, we enjoyed crepes and coffee, at a local café. We were joined by enlightenment philosophers including Locke, Rousseau, and Montesquieu. They shared with us their thoughts on government. These philosophers had an enormous impact on they way modern democracy is today. Of coarse, it doesn’t hurt that they picked up the tab.

After talking with the wise philosophers, we saw the world in a new perspective and light. We then wanted to share our new-found knowledge, the philosophers gifted us with, to the people back home. We had a new goal. It was time to finally end our journey of the Origins of Democracy, and take with us the knowledge we learned. We were going home!John Locke’s idea of natural rights: life, liberty and property.

France’s Enlightenment Era Contributions to Democracy:

John Locke’s idea of natural rights: life, liberty and property

Montesque’s idea of three branches of government

Ruso’s idea of a social contract, the agreement between the people and government

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Crumpets? – England

After our long week under the hot sun of Israeli, we were overjoyed at the thought of visiting a cooler democracy. We were supposed to meet near the Whaling Wall at 6 A.M. sharp, as to avoid the scotching hot sun. UnfortunatelyAmbra,Victoriaand I, who were sharing a room, had partied a little to much the night before. In fact,Victoriapartied so hard she was locked up in jail;    we had promised to bail her out in the early morning. Unluckily, Ambra and I were barely disturbed by our whining alarm clock this morning. I awoke to the sound of a bird chirping. The heat enveloped me and as I was startled awake by the sun, I realized that it was high in the sky and we had over slept. I shot out of bed and jumped on the next one over. After getting ready in frenzy, we sat down and contemplated on what to do.

At that moment of panic, my ghost tour guide Zeus appeared at our door. To our delight,Victoriawas by his side! He informed us that he was going to fly us toEngland. Relieved, we collected our bags and waited for his instructions. In a blink of an eye, we were soaring over the Middle East and then theMediterranean. We flew like birds and soon enough we were inLondon.

We thanked Zeus profusely and met up with our class which was still touring theWindsorCastle. The castle was lush, rich with vegetation. It had the built of a fort, surrounded with a sturdy wall. The tour guide told us that the castle is the oldest residential castle. It is also the most famous inEngland. Concluding the tour, Mrs. Hamilton lead us toBuckinghamPalace, the official residents for the monarchy. This castle was not as spacious as theWindsor; it also had a more modern style. The castle is also more open to the people and located closer toLondon.

After lunch we proceeded to theTowerofLondon. The tower is tall, comprised of a square building with towers on each corner. It was built with Medieval architecture. The tower has served many purposes, but is currently where the crown jewels are kept. The building is easily located near the entrance ofLondon. Next, we moved on toSt.JamesPalace, primarily the place of work for royalty. The building is modern, tall, built of red bricks, featuring a clock at the top, known as “Big Ben”. We were enjoying the cool weather as we toured our last location,WestminsterPalace. The building is fairly modern, and is used for public ceremonial events. TheWestminsterPalaceis one of  the many choices for royalty to get married, among many other important events.

The next morning, we were fortunate enough to join  Parliament at breakfast. We witnessed William and Mary signing the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was to ensure rule by law. This was the official beginning ofEnglandbecoming a constitutional monarchy. Aside from that, their crumpets were superb.

After we were full of knowledge and crumpets, we continued our journey to theMuseumofLondon. The exhibit explained the differences and hardships with previous English government.Englandwas the first county to make it painfully clear that they would not tolerate a leader that would not obey rule by law. They proved this by putting King Charles on trial, for his disregard of the law. He was found guilty in the trial; shortly after he was brutally decapitated.

We returned to our hotel with images of Kings being decapitated running through our minds. We then realized, that we had handled enough of England’s brutal history, for one trip. Next up wasFrance!

England’s Contributions to Democracy:

Rule by law

Freedom of speech

English Bill of Rights/Magna Carta (influenced the American Bill of Rights)

The right to a jury trial (idea of trial by jury)

Habeas corpus (prisoners have rights)

King Charles’ execution solidified rule by law

לחמם (Heat) My ice cream melted! – Israel

After a relaxing visit toRomewe prepared our bags for depart toIsrael. We met in our magic school bus. Mrs. Hamiltontold us to hold our breath and count to five. Knowing what awaited us, we were careful to follow her instructions. When I opened my eyes, I peered out the window and I could SEE a magnificent wall. I recognized it as the Western wall! I had seen the magnificent wall once before, when I had visitedIsrael.

We listened to Mrs. Hamilton explain the religious background of the country while we stood in the eccentric heat. I found it particularly hard to listen while all I could think about was a tall glass of water. I did understand thatIsraelwas important to Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions. It was the birthplace of their religions.

The Western Wall was originally a part of the second temple which had been a rebuild of Solomon’s temple. The temple had been destroyed by Babylonians during war. His temple had been a gigantic ornate building with many windows. It is legend to have had a walkway made of gold. This is not possible due to the extreme heat, hot enough to melt gold! (Believe me, I was there.) After its destruction, a second temple was rebuilt. Tragically, this temple was destroyed as well with the exception of the Western Wall by the Romans. This wall is the holiest Jewish site in the world today.

The wall is extremely tall with cracks running through. Some inserted letters or prayers into these crevices. We observed the symbolic monument with a sort of disappointment. It was not as lavish at it was made out to be. I personally felt the way that I did when I visited the grand canyon. However, we were privileged enough to get a tour of the underground tunnels. The wall extends beneath the ground level, this was only recently discovered.

Next, we followed the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The church is the site, according to the New Testament, of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. It is a landmark for Christianity. The church was very large and lavish. It had gold detailing, initially so that the light would reflect off of the walls. When the church was first built, it was dim and electricity was not an option.

Ambra and I were focused on finding a Starbucks on the way to the museum. This lack of Starbucks was making her a little off. Without luck, we retreated to an indoor (thank goodness) museum of Judao-Christian traditions. We learned about Hebrew values and Christian ideals.

Judeo-Christian Contributions to Democracy:

Equality

The duty of individual to fight injustice and oppression (the right to over throw a corrupt government)

Individual worth

Declaration ofIndependence

Larva (Ghost) – Rome

After the trip to Greece we were excited to set off for Rome. On Friday morning, we met on our magic school bus. We made sure to be there on time, we were aware that if we were tardy we would run the risk of not getting our work stamped. Personally, I want all the credit if I am going to be traveling in a questionably safe manner across the world.

Ambra, Victoria and I stowed away snacks from the Greek hotel to ensure that we would not have to endure any sort of hunger during out trip. As soon as everyone had been seated, Mrs. Hamilton closed the doors and off we went! About thirty seconds later, the doors opened with a “Wooosh.” (Please do not fret, the speedy transportation did impede on our use of snacks.)
Mrs. Hamilton explained our trip and our Roman buddy system. We would each be paired with an ancient Roman ghost. As unorthodox as it seemed, Mrs. Hamilton explained that it was perfectly safe.

My buddy’s name was Zeus. He made some joke about being a god and when I laughed, he said he would smite me. I’m not too sure what Mrs. Hamilton means by “safe.” After I had stopped crying, Zeus explained that our first destination was the Palatine Hill. This was the birth place of democracy. I thought it looked a great deal like a tall rock but maybe I did not SEE it quite right.

Our second location was the Forum. The Forum had served as the center of political, commercial, and judicial life in Ancient Rome. We visited the Curia which served as the Senate house. This is where senators voted and debated government related topics. In Rome, the legislative branch was broken up into a senate and two assemblies. The wealthy participated in the senate, in the Curia. On the way to our next destination, we visited the Forum Boarium which was the market place and the center of daily life. In the Forum, the Romans displayed their written laws on tablets, these tables were known as The Twelve Tablets.

Next, we visited the Coliseum. This is a grand structure that was built for entertainment purposes. I was surprised when Zeus told me that warriors rarely fought to the death. In fact, the fighters were usually criminals who would fight until injury, at which point they would be taken to the hospital. It was for these purposes that underground tunnels were built under the stage to access the jail, and hospitals.

Zeus informed me that our final destination was the Basilica Julia. The building was once magnificent but currently was in ruin aside from several pillars. Apparently, this was their courthouse where citizens viewed cases like we would watch a sports game. I did not think it sounded like anything I would WATCH but class was given the opportunity to act as judges in mock trials. It was interesting to see how chaotic their court system was and how similar the laws are to America’s.

After our tour, Zeus led me to our hotel. I was pleased to find out he was not staying. Zeus said his goodbyes and departed for “Mt. Olympus.”

Ancient Rome Contributions to Modern Democracy

The idea of a republic (when representatives are elected to make the decisions )

Three branches of government

Idea of veto

Legislative was divided (Senate and assemblies)

Natural law (idea that we are all born equal and must follow the laws)

They wrote down their laws so the people knew what they were and could follow them

Justinian Code

Checks and Balances

Right to a lawyer

Rule by law

Emphasized reason

Περιπέτειες με τη Δημοκρατία (Adventures with Democracy) – Greece

Early Monday morning, after the sun had started to rise, Mrs. Hamilton’s fifth period class started their Democracy field trip to Greece. We all met in her class room, anticipating the wonderful experience. To our surprise, Mrs. Hamilton instructed us to close our eyes and count to ten. Confused, we followed her instructions due to the fact that she is a fantastic and beautiful teacher. After finishing the count ten, we heard a high-pitched squeal that lasted for several moments. The sudden humidity overwhelmed us; the sweet smell of freshly baked bread enveloped the group. We opened our eyes and to our astonishment we were standing on the sidewalk. The street sign read, “The Panathenaic Way.” I struggled for a moment to recall where I had heard this before. In bewilderment, I remembered that we had learned about this street in school. It was the name of the street that led from the Agora to the Acropolis. We were in Greece!

Our class got lunch at a nearby bakery. Ambra and I shared spanikopita, a Greek specialty.Victoria, on the other hand, ordered something that we were accustomed to, ice cream. The waitress explained, in a heavy accent, that the spinikopita was a savory pastry filled with spinach and covered by phyilo doe.

After we were properly stuffed, we began our tour at the Acropolis, an impressively sized hill. This is where the important Ancient Greek buildings were built-in order to keep them safe during times of war. The Greeks certainly did think ahead.

We toured the Agora; directly translated, this was the market place for the Greeks. However, it was also the center to all daily life. The Agora encompassed political, economic, social centers and many other buildings.

After traipsing around in the almost unbearable sun, the class was relieved to escape it for a few hours as we visited The Museum of Greek Leaders. We learned or attempted to learn about the four main Ancient Greek leaders. After the long day, focusing was not our first priority.

Weary, we retired to our hotel. Ambra, Victoria and I ordered room service. I ordered fries which I thought would soothe my home-sickness. Ambra ate my french fries (she really likes them) and I was left to eat ice cream, not that I was complaining.

I realized that I was really missing my mama. Forgetting about the time difference, I made a money efficient Skype call. Victoria and I explained Greece to my sleepy-eyed mommy. I knew she was jealous, she loves to travel and more specifically to eat exotic foods. I get my good taste from her!

We wished her good night and went to our lavish beds. We needed the rest for Rome!

Ancient Greeks Contributions to Democracy:

The idea of three branches of government

Written laws

Pay government officials

Right to vote

Citizens can write laws

Representative assembly

Federalism (distributing power between a federal and state government)

Idea of democracy

Citizens are equal before the law

Plato: Direct democracy leads to mob rule

Aristotle: Reason is why people can participate in government